Striker given extra time over move to Buxton

Buxton FC  joint manager Paul Phillips
Buxton FC joint manager Paul Phillips

Buxton have still not given up on their experienced striker target, despite their deadline for his decision passing earlier this week.

The deal looked all but signed and sealed, then a possible chance to stay in the full-time game materialised and the player is now exploring that option first which the Bucks accept.

Joint manager Paul Phillips said: “It’s more or less done but we are still waiting on an answer. He still needs to cross one or two things off but I am hoping we’ll get it over the line this week to be honest.

“We do have another one plus other people we are talking to, but we are hoping we won’t have to go into that. This one is top of our priority list if we can get it done.

“He is a full-time footballer and he has got one possibility of staying full-time which you can’t grumble at if he does.

“If it doesn’t materialise then we’ll move on. But, it’s the be all and end all to stay in the pro game if you can. If he can you have to take your hat off to him.”

He added: “We are very frustrated as we wanted it done but I can understand where the lad is coming from. That’s been his life and his lifestyle as a pro footballer at different levels.

“Obviously the lad wants to give it every effort to stay in.

“Hopefully it doesn’t work out for him, but that’s me being selfish!”

Buxton begin their pre-season fixtures next week with games at Duckinfield Town on Tuesday and Barnoldswick Town on Thursday.

Both games will be used to run the rule over trialists, particularly for a new keeper to give competition to 39-year-old Jan Budtz.

“We have brought another keeper in, which now makes three, as we are looking to create competition in that department,” said Phillips. “But we’ll only go with two in the end.

“Jan is getting on a bit and, although he’s been there and done it, it’s going to be a different ball game going onto our new 4G pitch.

“So we’ve got two keepers in - one was third choice for Wigan last year and the other has been playing at this level and above over the last couple of seasons.

“That’s what these games are for. We will have a look at them and make the right decision who we go with going forward.

“We can’t keep three keepers here but with two we want them fighting for the position.”

The return for pre-season training has gone smoothly so far.

“We’ve had a good turn-out and one or two new faces,” said Phillips.

“It’s gone very well. We still have one or two people away on holiday or for personal reasons but by the time Saturday comes we should have 95 per cent of them back in.

“We have two games next week to take a look at certain individuals and obviously give answers to people that they’re going to get in or not.

“Then the real games start on the 14th with the Stockport game.

“We will also give one or two of the reserves lads a run out with the trialists.”

Buxton may still keep unsetlled striker Brad Grayson for the new season.

Grayson had asked to leave and Phillips admits his opportunities could be very limited if the new striker signs.

However, a heart-to-heart last week saw Grayson vow to stay and fight for a place.

“We have had a sit-down with Brad and he wants to give it his best shot,” said Phillips.

“But if this other striker comes in, things can change still.

“Brad is top class and I don’t think he will be short on offers if anything does happen.

“We have had an open and honest discussion with him and he said he wants to stay and fight for his place.

“That’s obviously music to our ears. But it’s just if he’s not going to get chances then we’ve got to be honest on both sides.

“If he stays it’s down to him to get in the team and in and about the squad.

“Brad is a top, top player and there is nothing set in stone. If he starts scoring goals again there’s not going to be many better strikers in this league.”